Oil boom strains North Dakota courts

April 2, 2013 at 7:27 AM

BISMARCK, N.D., April 2 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court in North Dakota says it expects the overall caseload to increase as the oil boom continues in the state.

The court, in its annual report, said oil production growth and the influx of workers into the state is straining judicial capacity.

North Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle said in the report it would be "remiss" not to mention oil's effect on the court system.

"We know that there have been increased caseloads throughout the Northwest and Southwest Judicial Districts and we anticipate that they will continue to increase in number as the oil boom continues and the area affected continues to spread," he writes.

Oil production in North Dakota has increased each of the last four years. Much of the production is from the Bakken formation, which the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said was helping the United States make global gains in oil production.

The Supreme Court said there were 21.3 percent more civil filings and 21.7 percent more criminal filings in 2012 than in 2011.

"Cases having oil and gas issues are impacting the workload of the Supreme Court and have arisen in real property cases, family law, probate and other case types," the annual report states.

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